What a different world it would be if I could command the same respect and authority as a man. Not that I’m unhappy being a woman. I love being a mom, grandma and a woman in my community. What I miss is the power to be seen and taken seriously. And, I am grateful for every woman in our community that is a role model of leadership, because it truly is not easy to be a woman.
I don’t label myself as a “feminist” and I didn’t go to the Women’s March. However, as a woman, I often feel the sting of being treated with less respect than a man. The problem is that it’s subtle, sometimes so imperceptible that I can’t exactly call the person out on it. Here’s how I experience subtle disregard as a woman: it’s the big pick-up trucks that pull up beside me and glance at me. Once they’ve determined I’m a woman, and even if I was before them in the lane, they press the gas pedal and accelerate ahead of me. It’s not every time, but it happens enough for me to feel how their glances decide whether they can push ahead of me or not.
As a woman, my time is not seen as valuable. Here’s how it works: I step into a bank, in this case, Chase in Goleta. The banker knows why I’m there because I called and spoke to him earlier. He looks at me and says he’s going to take this other person and he’ll be done quickly. “Quickly” turns into 35 minutes. I ask myself, “If I were a man would I been benched this long?” I really truly doubt it. Because I see how men command respect. A man would not be left waiting for more than a half an hour. When I finally talk to another male banker who seemed to have some authority, the one who left me waiting immediately got up and attended to my need in spite of having people in his cubicle